Training Failures in SHEQ and how to overcome them

Michele Bowmer discusses SHEQ Training and why it fails to deliver results.

Managers and Training providers can overcome SHEQ training failures by doing a proper training needs analysis before selecting the required training programs. Due to the vast issues addressed with SHEQ related training it is probably one of the most important types of training any employer and employee needs.  The coverage doesn’t only address SHEQ but includes a vast amount of information which can solve many issues applicable to other sections of business in today’s world.

Michele Bowmer, takes a look to see if this is actually the case and what we must ask ourselves.

  • Why do employers send their employees on training but never attend the training themselves?
  • Why do employers prefer the cheapest and shortest training?
  • Why do learners seldom achieve the pass mark in assessments and practical exercises?
  • Why is the learner incapable of applying what they have learnt in the workplace?
  • Why do employers expect the learners to come into the office either before or after the day’s training and do work?
  • If training is conducted on site, why is the class interrupted many times to remove the learner from the class for work purposes?
  • Why must learners feel the need to answer their phones during class for work purposes?
  • Why do learners arrive late for class and always want to leave early?

 Training of employees but not employers causes training failures

Ineffective classroom based training causes SHEQ training failures
Ineffective classroom based training causes SHEQ training failures

The employer expects the employee to attend training and then become a wizard of knowledge, understanding and information overnight. At the same time the employer has no idea what the training consisted of and therefore can’t support the employee with implementing what they have learnt.

The employer often expects too much from the employee; after all, who is responsible for managing everything at the end of the day? The employer.  The employee must be able to do the work – that is why they went on the training, but if the employer has no clue as to what it all entails, any action taken is causing SHEQ training failures.

Improper training course selection and time usage causes training failures

Cheap is not always the bargain it appears to be, because you get what you pay for. You may pay less, you may save on work hours, but the outcome will always be lacking. The result is a certificate that is not worth the paper it is written on and the learner still has no idea what it was all about, thus causing SHEQ training failures.

In some instances; the service provider of the training is asked by the employer to reduce the training time, causing SHEQ training failures. Instead of the learner being on training for 3 days, it is now 2 days, sometimes even one day saving money and time; but the employer still expects that same outcome from the reduced training time. The time allocated to any training course is based on the amount of content to be covered, inclusive of in-class practical exercises, discussions and role-play (where required). Reducing the time of the training has a ripple effect, the facilitator must cram as much as possible into the time allowed often leaving out important in-class activities which are pertinent to a successful result. The learner loses out on learning time and can’t complete the assessments successfully.

Any training course must comply with SAQA and legal requirements, which means there must be an assessment. When writing an assessment; adequate study time must be provided for. The assessment process is two-fold and includes a written assessment and a practical assessment. Both assessments must achieve a separate pass mark and should not be a combined pass mark. The learner can’t possibly achieve pass marks when insufficient time is provided to support learning and completing assignment which impairs their ability to complete the training successfully.

On training; BUT…

Employees learn very little when disrupted, causing SHEQ Training failures
Employees learn very little when disrupted, causing SHEQ Training failures

The facilitator will always insist that cell phones which must be turned off. Management tells the learner attending the training course to keep their phones on in case they are needed, causing SHEQ training failures. The facilitator will insist that the phones are put on silent and the result is learners are always checking their phones; not paying attention, or running out of the class with cell phone in hand. The excuses from learners as to why they can’t put their phones off are varied, but are always due to management and range from: I am the only one who can do this, or I am expecting my manager to call me, or there may be a crisis and nobody at my section knows what to do … the list of excuses goes on and on.

When learners arrive late for class or ask to leave early, the excuses change to: I had to go to the office and finish some urgent work or I must go to the office to make sure nothing important or serious needs attention. When training is done on-site, there is an endless stream of people popping in and calling someone out of the class, sometimes for hours at a time. It is hard to believe that nobody else within the organisation knows what to do or can’t handle something important. It is also hard to believe that learners who know they are going to be away from the office or in the training room are not capable of clearing their desks in time and making adequate arrangements. What happens when they are off sick or on leave?


In conclusion

How do we address these causes of SHEQ training failures?

The Service Provider

The service provider should never be willing to reduce the time allocated to a training course it only reflects badly on the service provider if the outcomes are inadequate.

The service providers should have a training course terms and conditions whereby issues such as cell phones, late arrivals, early leavings etc. are addressed. These should also include the fact that the facilitator is in control of the time usage and not the employer or the learners.

The Employer

The employer should attend training before sending the employee on the same training or attend it together.

Poor communication and excessive noise causes training failures.
Poor communication and excessive noise causes training failures.

The employer should never try to reduce the training time allocated.

Employers must allow employees to attend training without interruptions; immaterial of where that training takes place.

Employers should always want the best outcomes of any training they provide, after all they are paying for it.

Employees should want the training to have positive impact once the learners are back at work.

All learners should have a certificate of success they can be proud of; whether employer or employee.

And finally, employers, service providers and learners who don’t comply with the legal and other requirements for training will have pieces of paper of course results and certificates that have no value.


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